]Last weekend I made, oh, the best fried chicken I have ever had in my life, thank you very much and if I do say so myself. And as I always do, I took its picture, nestled on a plate with some cornbread and a fresh tomato basil salad, and was all set to share that with you, my wonderful blog-reading friends.
Then I looked at the picture.
And I looked at it again, and I thought, well, that’s not so bad. I showed it to my fried chicken-loving Southern husband, who looks at all my food pictures and says exactly the same thing: “That’s beautiful! It could be in a magazine!”
He looked at this one said, “that’s nice, honey.”
Because my rule is, if I don’t have a nice picture of it, it doesn’t go up on the blog. I considered re-shooting it, but first I went online to look at other pictures of fried chicken, and realized that there has never been a nice picture of fried chicken taken in the history of the world. Well, maybe there are nice chicken leg pictures, but not chicken breasts, which is what I made. I felt vindicated. (and for all of you who know the existence of lovely fried chicken breast pictures, don’t tell me. This is my story and I am sticking to it.)
So I resigned myself to no fried chicken blog post, which made me slightly sad because it was so GOOD, but I am resilient and I moved on…and then the emails started coming. Because yes, I had Twittered and Facebooked that I was making buttermilk fried chicken, and you guys wanted to know where the goods were.
So I thought, I will be clever and take some sort of chicken picture. Surely I have something resembling a chicken in the house. And guess what, right there in my little kitchen studio, there was my hammered metal chicken pictured above. Bingo! All set for the post.
At this point I decided to start NOT looking for any more chickens in my house, and just get on with the recipe posting. So for all of you who have been so patient, here is the recipe for Buttermilk Fried Chicken. I promise you it is worth the wait. And if you ever come to visit me, whatever you do, please don’t bring me a chicken. I obviously have poultry issues.
I have no idea how this got into my kitchen.
- 1 cup kosher salt
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 2 tablespoons paprika
- 3 heads of garlic, cloves separated
- 3 crumbled bay leaves
- 2 quarts buttermilk
- 1 whole chicken, cut into pieces. Breasts should be cut in quarters. I used all chicken breasts myself, but the original recipe calls for a whole chicken. Up to you.
- 4 cups flour
- 1 large egg
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 4 cups peanut oil
- Combine salt, sugar, paprika, garlic and bay leaves in a large ziplock bag. Using a mallet, smash garlic into salt mixture thoroughly. Pour mixture into large bowl and add 7 cups of buttermilk. Stir until salt is dissolved, immerse chicken and refrigerate for 2-3 hours.
- Remove chicken from buttermilk brine and shake off excess. Place in single layer on wire rack set over rimmed baking sheet. Refrigerate uncovered for 2 hours.
- Put flour in shallow dish. Beat egg, baking powder, baking soda in medium bowl, stir in remaining cup of buttermilk. Working in batches of three, drop chicken in flour and shake pan to coat. Using tongs, dip chicken in egg mixture and then coat in flour again. Return to wire rack.
- Heat oil to 375 degrees (using instant read or candy thermometer) in large Dutch oven. Place chicken pieces skin side down in hot oil. Don’t crowd chicken — you will probably have to work in batches. Fry until golden brown on the bottom, about 6-8 minutes. Turn over and continue to fry until second side is golden, another 6-8 minutes.
- Using tongs, transfer cooked chicken to paper towel-lined plate and drain for 2 minutes. Transfer to wire rack placed on baking sheet and keep warm in 200 degree oven while remaining chicken is fried.
- Serve with any of the following: mashed potatoes, cornbread, corn on the cob, green beans, tomato salad, biscuits…you get the idea. And by the way, if you think this chicken is heavenly right out of the frying pan, just wait until you have a cold piece for lunch the next day. Life doesn’t get too much better.